Gas prices continue to drop with the decreasing price of oil, which reached as low as $50 a barrel on Monday. Gas typically becomes more expensive during holiday travel, not less, and yet many consumers saw a “1” at the beginning of their prices this December for the first time in five years.
Global economic implications aside, what do these lower oil prices mean for the consumer? Simple: more money in their pockets.
According to energy experts, American families could have as much as $115 billion more in disposable income this year compared to 2014, solely because gas is so cheap. Heating oil is also notably at a four-year low, which will reduce home heating prices just in time for some states to hit subzero temperatures.
I will admit that when I filled my car’s gas tank on Monday and noticed a total price of less than $30, I experienced a mini dream sequence of how I could spend all of the extra money I would have at my disposal. It’s quite likely your consumers are having similar thoughts.
Cheaper fuel means the investment to get the family on the water isn’t as steep, which could be great news for summer boating if these price trends continue. More disposable income could mean more money to put away for the frugal-minded boater, which could lead to consumers achieving their down payment on that dream boat sooner than they would have otherwise.
If you don’t believe me, ask our friends in the auto industry: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all reported higher sales in December 2014 than December 2013. Low fuel prices and increased confidence in the economy drove (literally) the increase.
It will be interesting to see the ripple effect these lower prices having on the economy, but for now, consumers are confident, fuel prices are low and the potential for positive impact on the boating industry is out there.